Category Archives: Creative Thinking

100 Minutes of Genius

My last post was about the concept of applying Google’s 20% Policy to the classroom.  100 Minutes of Genius is a similar idea.  Tia Henriksen got the idea of calling it “Genius Hour” from another educator, Mrs. Krebs, who is referenced on this blog post.  Also, there are links to how Mrs. Krebs introduced the idea to her students and a report of their progress that includes a Rubric of Creativity.  This appears to be an idea that is spreading like wildfire, and I think that it can be adapted to many different types of learning situations.  Giving students more choices that allow for creativity could be a way to reignite the passion for learning in our country.

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The Twenty Percent Project

Last year, a friend of mine told me about Google’s 20% Policy, and I immediately thought of its applications for the classroom.  It was among many of my ideas that I had for the new school year that just didn’t come to fruition.  And now, I find that a teacher named AJ Juliani had the same inspiration – but is actually following through with it.  You can read all about Google’s Policy, and how Mr. Juliani is applying it with his students here on the “Education is My Life” blog.  Be sure to read the comments that follow, as well.  It makes for an interesting discussion!

Craftsmanship Rubric

This “Craftsmanship Rubric” is a great visual to use to help your students to see what your expectations are for their artwork.  Kathleen O’Malley, the creator of this neat chart, recommends that you produce your own text to describe each picture.  Another thought might be to ask your students to help you to come up with the descriptors for each level.

My Favorite Sites for Educational App Reviews

Did a child in your family get an iDevice for Christmas?  Or, are you a teacher who is desperately trying to find appropriate educational apps for the classroom?  It’s difficult to weed through all of the apps listed as “Educational” in the official iTunes App Store, but there are a few other resources you can use.  Here are my top three Favorite Sites for Educational App Reviews:

#3:  Mindleap – this site, though relatively new, allows you to choose a category or specific grade level to search.

#2:  Famigo – specifically designed for the user to find family-oriented apps, and allows you to search in a variety of ways (free or paid, age level, highest rated, most popular, etc…)

#1:  Appitic – this site, produced by Apple Distinguished Educators, allows you to browse for apps by: Preschool, Themes, Multiple Intelligences, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and Tools.  I love that it offers apps based on MI and Bloom’s, encouraging higher order thinking skills.

For my original posts on each of these sites, and some other suggestions not listed here, you can click here and here.

 

Creative Snowflakes

This post, from The Art of Education blog, gives some great suggestions for a simple art challenge for the students who might be so inclined.  I would extend the topic even further by having the students brainstorm other possible ideas for illustrating an entire page:  ladybugs, flowers, holiday candy, cars, etc…

S.C.A.M.P.E.R. the Holidays

One of the creative thinking tools that my students learn is S.C.A.M.P.E.R.  It is an acronym to help people to remember different ways inventive ideas can happen:  Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Another Use, and Rearrange.  It was originally developed by a man named Roger Eberle.  The holidays lend themselves to this type of thinking, as the students are already feeling a little loose and silly – willing to take risks with unusual ideas.  Here is a link to a first grade teacher’s activity in which her students had to think of ideas for the putting candy canes to another use.  And here are some other ones I’ve used:
Substitute other materials for making a “snowman” for a place where it never snows.
Combine two holidays and draw a picture of a family celebrating them.
Adapt Santa’s sleigh to another environment – like the desert or outer space.
Modify (Magnify or Minimize) a holiday dessert.
Put flying reindeer to another use for the rest of the year.
Eliminate presents from a holiday. What could be done to celebrate instead?
Rearrange the holiday calendar. What months would have which holidays, and why?
If you prefer having pre-made sheets, you can purchase PDF’s of these in my SCAMPER Through the Seasons pack on TPT. Here are some examples from my third graders:
This student made a snowman out of globes, and the hands are from a clock!
This student asked me if Santa’s new environment had to be “real.” When I said it did not have to be real, he chose a computer game as the environment.

Rain Deer Orchestra

Rain Deer Orchestra is just a fun site that can easily be differentiated for various music levels.  I am not sure why the site designer chose that particular way to spell the title, but it’s the songs that are important.  Go to this site, and you can tap on the noses of the reindeer to play music.  There are a couple of songs that have prompts to accompany them for those students who are just learning, and there is the option to “free play”.  For the middle-of-the-road students, or as a class lesson, the teacher could play a few notes, and then ask the student(s) to predict which reindeer would make the next appropriate note.